“Children with grandmothers who smoked have an increased risk of asthma even when mothers did not smoke, according to new findings.
The new study, presented today (30 September, 2015) at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress, 2015, is the first to investigate the risk in a whole population and use evidence about smoking habits taken directly from grandmothers at the time they were pregnant.
There has been a rapid increase in asthma in the last 50 years. Changing environmental exposures are thought to be responsible for this and more recently researchers are looking at these exposures in previous generations. It is known that tobacco use can affect the activity of genes and the researchers in this new study hypothesised that these changes could then be passed to subsequent generations.
Researchers investigated whether smoking in grandmothers, while they were pregnant with daughters, was linked with an increased risk of asthma in their grandchildren. Data was taken from the Swedish Registry and included 44,853 grandmothers from 1982 to 1986. Smoking exposure was recorded during pregnancy and use of asthma medication was recorded in 66,271 grandchildren.”
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